Since the season starts (for the Pats) starts in about a half hour (as I start typing this), here’s some random observations…basically since the team started camp. No rhyme or reason, no particular order, completely all over the place. But no, no more roster projections. I can promise you that.
*The starting offensive line tonight appears to be Cameron Fleming/Joe Thuney/David Andrews/Ted Karras/Marcus Cannon…YIIIIIIIIKKKKKKKEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!
*The Patriots have re-signed some of their upcoming free agents recently: Matthew Slater, Jonathan Freeny & Rob Ninkovich, to be specific. I do love Ninkovich, despite him being an idiot and getting suspended for PEDs. Have an “expert” check the labels next time Nink. But if I had to pick three of the impending free agents to re-sign, these wouldn’t be the first three. Devin McCourty restructured today apparently too. I HOPE all of this means they have created some decent cap room and are locking up Jamie Collins for several years.
*The rest of the impending free agents? I’m not worried about Malcolm Butler next offseason. He’s restricted. If they sign Collins, they can franchise tag Dont’a Hightower. Jabal Sheard? Would love to keep him, but I bet they let him go, especially after some other team throws a ton of dough at him…assuming he has a good year of course. Logan Ryan & Duron Harmon? Replaceable. Martellus Bennett? A luxury this year. Sebastian Vollmer? Injury-prone, seems likely if he wants to stay, he will have to take a huge pay cut. Point being? Sign Collins ASAP and the rest should fall into place.
*Yes, the Julian Edelman “losing Brady is like one of your friends going to jail” comment is silly. He was on the same team with Aaron Hernandez at one point, no?
*If Jimmy Garoppolo is truly is affected by the Tom Brady banner hanging at Gillette Stadium, is he the person we want quarterbacking the team?
*Jacoby Brissett looked pretty good in the preseason. But if Jimmy Football struggles out of the gate, do people really think he will be better? At least now? Not so sure about that.
*Gronk has a bad hammy. Uh oh.
*Brady is keeping sharp by throwing to Gisele. That should work.
*Surprised DJ Foster is inactive. Thought they may go short passing game tonight. Wouldn’t be shocked if they showed a bit of no-huddle. Running game is average, at best. Line is potentially brutal. Foster could help there. Maybe we will see some Brandon Bolden out there in his place. Yuck.
*People were surprised that Cre’von LeBlanc and Kamu Grugier-Hill were left off the final roster. I was. But do we really think that these guy will end up being superstars elsewhere? Doubtful.
*Gametime. Moving on. Prediction? Ugh. I think the Pats will show better than most think. But the obstacles are too great. Arizona, 24-17.
Preseason is over. Cuts are within hours. Hopefully this will get done before they happen. Since, you know, these projections seem to be the only thing the Blowhard feels like doing these days it appears. Anyway, 75 players remain, but now the Pats have TWO guys suspended for the first 4 games. So 55 players will be left at the end.
Locks: Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett
Way Out: None
Suspended: Tom Brady
Nothing new to see here.
Locks: Brandon Bolden, LeGarrette Blount
In: James White, James Develin, D.J. Foster
Out: Joey Iosefa, Tyler Gaffney
Way Out: None
Switched Foster and Gaffney after Foster’s performance in the last preseason game, despite the fumble. But again, anyone’s guess as to what happens here. I think White stinks and hopefully he will be cut. But probably not. Same goes for Bolden. Waiver activity is likely here.
Locks: Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell
In: Keshawn Martin
Out: Chris Harper, DeAndre Carter, Aaron Dobson
Way Out: Devin Lucien
PUP: Danny Amendola
Moved Dobson down. Having the team shop him around the league this past week you would think means he is a goner. With Amendola still heading to PUP I believe, as well as Mitchell and Martin being banged up, maybe 4 is a little thin here. But of course Matthew Slater could play here in a pinch. One of the TE’s or one of the RB’s like Foster could play here as well. Plus, if Harper and/or Carter and/or Lucien slide through to the practice squad, that can cover them as well. Maybe they won’t throw much under Jimmy G anyway…who the hell knows?
Locks: Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett
In: A.J. Derby
Out: Clay Harbor
Way Out: Bryce Williams
Sticking with Derby here. Went through a bunch of possibilities last projection and they all remain in play. But another thought is cutting both Harbor and Derby and keeping extra offensive linemen…based on a bunch of those dudes being nicked up…not to mention ineffective.
Locks: Nate Solder (LT), Shaq Mason (G), Joe Thuney (G), David Andrews (C), LaAdrian Waddle (T), Marcus Cannon (RT), Josh Kline (G/C)
In: Jonathan Cooper (G), Ted Karras (G), Cameron Fleming (T)
Out: Chris Barker (G)
Way Out: Jon Halapio (G)
Added Fleming for at least for the short-term because of all the uncertainty on the line as a whole. All of a sudden Barker seemed to get some run in the 2 recent games, so maybe he factors in. They’ve had about 6 guys play right guard over the preseason, so again, who the hell knows?
Locks: Chris Long, Jabaal Sheard, Trey Flowers
In: Geneo Grissom
Way Out: None
Suspended: Rob Ninkovich
Nice work on the PED’s Rob. Ugh. Since the news came out, I have heard people say, “Rob has been such a solid citizen, this is so surprising…” How do we really know how “solid” Ninkovich has been? Sure, he has been versatile and a good team player over the years. But how do we know he hasn’t been doing ‘roids all along? No doubt the league is rife with players that use them regularly. Maybe he was one of them. And that’s how he took “the next step” from end of roster, part-time long snapper to important part of a championship defense. Just sayin’…anyway, the suspension actually doesn’t hurt anyone really, since Nink probably wouldn’t have played in those games due to injury. Doesn’t help the reputation however.
Locks: Alan Branch, Malcolm Brown, Vincent Valentine
In: Anthony Johnson
Out: Joe Vellano, Marcus Kuhn
Way Out: Woodrow Hamilton
Switched Johnson and Kuhn. Johnson has been extremely noticeable the entire preseason while Kuhn started hot and seemed to fade. Johnson is 7 years younger too, so that kind of counts for something.
Locks: Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, Shea McLellin, Jonathan Freeny, Barkevious Mingo
Out: Rufus Johnson, Elandon Roberts, Kevin Snyder
Way Out: None
I wanted to find spots for Rufus and Elandon, but unless there is some other movement elsewhere (Brandon King, perhaps?), doesn’t look like we can fit them in.
Locks: Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Cyrus Jones
In: Justin Coleman, Cre’Von LeBlanc
Out: Jonathan Jones, Darryl Roberts
Way Out: None
Same here as well. Thought about trying to slide LeBlanc to the practice squad along with Jonathan and Darryl. Wouldn’t rule the team out from doing that.
Locks: Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards
Out: Vinnie Sunseri
Way Out: None
Sunseri is terrible, I can’t even believe he made it past cuts to 75.
Locks: Stephen Gostkowski (K), Ryan Allen (P), Joe Cardona (LS), Matthew Slater (ST), Brandon King (ST), Nate Ebner (ST)
In: Kamu Grugier-Hill (ST)
Way Out: None
Ok, so Grugier-Hill missed Game #3 because of illness, not long-term injury. Think Bill really loves him. But really, between Grugier-Hill, Slater, King, Ebner, Bolden, Freeny, perhaps Grissom and who knows who else…how many special teams guys can you really carry?
Practice squad stab: Gaffney, Carter, Harper, Lucien, Rufus Johnson, both Roberts’, Jonathan Jones, Snyder, Iosefa I suppose…but some of these dudes may be claimed by other teams when initially waived…and of course the team can claim some players waived by other teams. But you already knew all that…
Continuing on…picking up at 2-2, bottom of fifth:
*Sweet play by Mookie Betts to start the bottom of the inning. Thought he may have misplayed a solid liner to right off the bat of Rajai Davis. Ended up making the grab with a small leap at the end. I worry about his arm in RF, but he should cover a ton of ground. Goes without saying I suppose. And the more he plays out there, obviously the better and smoother he will get. Probably goes without saying again…
*First grounder to Hanley! Slow roller…taken to the bag himself without incident. Phew. But still waiting for the first hard hit ball to him. Or a throw in the dirt. Come to think of it, Travis Shaw has not had one hit to him yet.
*David Price’s favorite music artist is Young Jeezy. Coincidentally, me too!!
*Jerry Remy has lost 20 lbs since November by just “eating half-portions of meals”. Good to know. I’m sure that’s all it was.
*SHAWSIE!! Another single. Nice of Hanley to take the extra base from first to third. But it wasn’t exactly the best move, though it worked. In analyzing the play, Remy wondered if Butterfield gave Hanley a signal to come to third. He didn’t. What Remy failed to point out is that Hanley wouldn’t have listened to Butter anyway. Side note: Still haven’t seen any shots of Fat Panda in the dugout.
*BROCKSTAR!! RBI single to make it 3-2 Sox. Again, Farrell is a genius!! Incidentally, no shots of Rusney Castillo in the dugout either.
*You think Ned Yost will pick Holt for the All-Star game again this year?
*TIIIIIITTTTOOOOO!! It was definitely time for Tito to go in Boston. Things had run their course with him managing. But it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth how they kind of smeared him on his way out of town. He deserved better. I think you can pretty much say the same about Claude Julien when he gets fired soon. Hopefully he won’t get bad-mouthed like Tito was.
*First grounder to Shaw. Nice pick. Solid throw to Hanley. Slow runner in Carlos Santana, but still, as routine as you get.
*103 pitches, 6 innings, 2 runs, 10 K’s for Price. Was hoping to get 7 out of him, but it will do for today. Now let’s see if Junichi Tazawa’s arm has recovered from extreme overuse in prior years.
*Dustin Pedroia is 0-4. I wonder if he sucks to start the year and if Holt continues with his strong starts he’s had the previous 2 years, Farrell has the sack to switch them in the lineup? Holt 2nd and Pedroia 7th? I think Hell would have to freeze over for Farrell to make THAT switch. But worth noting. Listen, I don’t hate Pedroia. But he has been injury-prone, obviously. And is not the MVP he once was. But he should not be exempt from any move of this sort…if the goal is to truly win games.
*Joba Chamberlain sighting! He looks a little thinner I think. Not tough to do, of course. But maybe my eyes are going…
*Nice…more excuses for Hanley’s poor year last year: “pull-happy, homer-happy, injured shoulder”, yada, yada, yada.
*SHAWS…nevermind. Sacks juiced, K looking. Was a smidge outside and thus borderline. But still…
*BROCKST…nevermind. Liner to third with sacks juiced still. Both Shaw and Holt had a chance to break this thing open. Maybe Farrell isn’t a genius? Ok, kidding all around. It’s one game either way. Let’s see how it plays out long-term.
*12 pitch 1-2-3 inning for Tazawa. Encouraging. But Juan Uribe, Tyler Naquin (first major league at-bat) and Rajai Davis…not exactly Murderer’s Row. Let’s wait it out to see how he is after Farrell either warms him up or pitches him in 25 games in April.
*Chamberlain in the game now. I think he IS actually skinnier. But it appears that he sucks worse than ever now. 6 games with KC last year and an ERA close to 8.00. Many other games with Detroit and an ERA close to 5.00. Maybe he should start eating again to put some of that weight back on? Or at least hang out with Panda after every game this series to get started on that?
*Ok, thanks for the reminder that Clay Buchholz is starting tomorrow. Just ruined my night.
*Here’s Koji Uehara now. Love this guy, have since the day the Sox got him. But similar to Tazawa, let’s see how much he has left from a couple of years of severe overuse.
*Just learned that Koji ranks #1 career in WHIP. Craig Kimbrel is #2. Impressive. But admittedly not a lot of innings there for either.
*This is not a repeat. 12 pitch 1-2-3 inning for Koji. A little tougher road to hoe though in Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli though. So a little more impressive. But again, let’s see what happens when Farrell leans on him too much again.
*Mike Napoli may pummel the home plate umpire at the end of the game. 3 K’s. But they were all pretty good at-bats. And questionable strike calls throughout all the AB’s. He had some sort of a case, I do admit. But I say if they were that close, swing the bat already. Questionable ball/strike calls on the Sox side as well. In fact, Xander just took a called third strike way outside. Maybe John Hirschbeck is cold and wants to go home.
One thing is for sure, you couldn’t pay me enough to be an on-field official in any sport. Not with the hundreds of camera angles and slow motion replays that are available now to make you look like an idiot after any wrong call. I say they all do a pretty good job, based on the circumstances. There are very few calls that are egregious mistakes in real time. We can certainly bash officials for those particular ones though.
*Big Papi homers…nice. Then Hanley THINKS he homers. And watches at the plate as it hits the top of the wall. So he gets only a single. At least Remy finally says something about him not running. Kind of tame though.
*Top of the ninth…and first shot of Pablo Sandoval in the dugout!! Just kind of sitting there. No sub. No crumbs on his face. No phone. Kind of disappointing in those regards. But he does look cold, I’ll give him that. All wrapped up nice and snug.
*Craig Kimbrel’s debut for the Sox. Not a save situation. But glad to see Farrell didn’t warm him up in the ‘pen only to leave him there. Like I said, no Noe Ramirez for me today. Anyway, 19 pitches, worked around a walk and got yet another questionable third strike call to end the game. 6-2 Sox. I’ll take it!
That about does it from here. I think my fingers are tired. But despite my pessimism of the upcoming Boston Red Sox season, it is ALWAYS good to win on Opening Day. And Home Opening Day, which they hopefully will do next week.
Baseball is BACK! I just hope the Sox don’t ruin my summah too early again this year…